Sussex Squid Stew

Cephalopods, which includes octopus squid and cuttlefish, aren’t just caught in the Mediterranean. They are caught all along the Kent and Sussex coast as well. They’re cheap and delicious, but a lot of people won’t touch them.

No, they’re not the prettiest of seafood, and they’re messy to clean. But your fishmonger will often clean them for you.

I bought a large fresh squid on Hastings seafront from one of the little shacks on the beach.

Although it was extra work for me, I wanted to clean it myself to rescue the ink sac, which adds a nice flavour to the sauce.

You can read instructions online on how to clean your squid. It’s easy.

After I’d skinned it, I turned it inside-out and gently pulled out and put aside the ink sac, then I rinsed it under the tap. Then, using kitchen scissors, I cut the white meat into small squares.


All ingredients are approximate. You don’t have to be too exact.

4 tblsps olive oil

4 mixed red, yellow or green peppers.

I thought this was too much, so I just used half a large yellow pepper.

1 red onion, chopped

100 g chorizo.

I can’t stand chorizo, but I had some Serrano ham so I chopped that up. But bacon would do.

½ tsp chilli flakes. Or use a dash of chilli sauce.

Thyme, to taste

Parsley, fresh or dried.

1 bay leaf

4 garlic cloves, chopped.

500ml red wine vinegar.

I didn’t have any, so I used malt vinegar, which added a nice tang.

25g caster sugar.

This seemed pointless, so I used granulated.

500ml passata.

I didn’t have any, so I used a tin of chopped tomatoes.

400g squid. I don’t know what mine weighed, but it was a whole squid.

400g butter beans, drained.

This is a clever addition that I wouldn’t have thought of using.



Heat the oil in a large saucepan. Gently fry the onion, pepper until soft.

Add the other ingredients, including the squid & the ink & add some water.

Bring to the boil, stirring regularly. Cover with a lid.

The ink will burst and turn the sauce black.

Simmer for approx. 1 hour.

If necessary, you can cook it for longer. But check that it doesn’t burn. Top up with water if necessary.

Serve it with crusty bread or rice.

I used jasmine rice because it’s pure white and looked good with the black sauce.


  • Lyn Funnell

    Lyn is the co-owner of Unknown Kent and Sussex. She lives in Sussex. Lyn has been writing for most of her life, both Fiction & Non-Fiction. She loves cookery & creating original recipes. She's won a lot of prizes, including Good Housekeeping Millenium Menu & on BBC The One Show as a runner-up, making her Britain's Spag Bol Queen! She has had nine books published so far. History, Travel & Restaurant Reviews are her main interests.

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